As a part of the present “Year of Mercy,” Pope Francis has called upon local churches around the world to celebrate “24 Hours for the Lord,” a time of Eucharistic adoration and reception of the Sacrament of Penance. While the “24 Hours” celebrations have been held on the Fourth Sunday of Lent since 2014, this year’s observance has received special emphasis by the Holy Father in his Bull “Misericordiae Vultus”, the “Face of Mercy.”
“The initiative of 24 Hours for the Lord,” writes Pope Francis, “to be celebrated on the Friday and Saturday preceding the Fourth Week of Lent, should be implemented in every diocese. So many people, including young people, are returning to the Sacrament of Reconciliation; through this experience they are rediscovering a path back to the Lord, living a moment of intense prayer and finding meaning in their lives. Let us place the Sacrament of Reconciliation at the center once more in such a way that it will enable people to touch the grandeur of God’s mercy with their own hands. For every penitent, it will be a source of true interior peace” (17).
The Holy Father himself will preside at a penance service at St. Peter Basilica on Friday, March 4. It is for local dioceses to make particular arrangements for similar celebrations.